TD Bank’s Lindsay Sacknoff: Be Authentic and Trust Your Gut

Lindsay Sacknoff with her family

“I couldn’t dream of a pandemic changing the way we live and work overnight”

When TD Bank’s Lindsay Sacknoff first took on her new role as Head of U.S. Consumer Deposits, Products and Payments, she couldn’t have imagined that on her 43rd day on the job, she’d be dealing with a global pandemic.

But the TD leader understands what it takes, amid COVID-19, to connect with new Colleagues and how to adapt to new challenges, even if it’s in a virtual space rather than face-to-face. A big part of that is always being honest and authentic.

That’s why she was recently honored with the distinction as one of the Most Powerful Women in Banking: Next List. It’s an honor she doesn’t take lightly or take credit for all by herself.

She knows it takes a dynamite team to make sure a company is firing on all cylinders and having a partner at home who is an excellent cook doesn’t hurt either.

Here's a candid conversation with Lindsay Sacknoff:

You were just honored as one of the Most Powerful Women in Banking: Next List! Congrats! What does something like this mean to you?

Truthfully, I am humbled and proud. It takes a village to support our Customers, Colleagues and Communities. And I'm proud to represent this village with this recognition.

How do you plan to celebrate?

In this virtual world we live in right now – the celebration has been virtual. I've exchanged a number of texts and phone calls with folks that I haven't had the chance to connect with in a while, which has been really nice. And then my partner, Jason, and I had a nice dinner at home. Lucky for me, he is a great cook!

(ALSO READ: TD Bank's Peter Mottek on Wealth's Immense Potential, Staying the Course Amid COVID-19 and Family Time)

Does an honor like this make you reflect on your road to get here? What kind of advice would you give to a young Lindsay just starting off?

When I reflect on my career, I often remember the people much more than the jobs. My mom is an amazing quilter. She works for years on these amazing works of art that make sense of different colors, shapes, and fabrics. That is how I think of my career and who I have grown to be. It's a myriad of relationships, experiences, and places that have built upon each other. And here I am! Through all the building, I would tell young Lindsay, "Don't worry so much, trust your gut more."

Lindsay and her family at the park

What was the best advice or mentorship you received along your journey thus far?

There are a few things that both helped me in my years at TD and before when I was in consulting. First, follow your curiosity. If it makes you curious, there may be something there. Second, take the job no one wants. I've learned the most and had more doors open in those roles. The last piece of advice is to surround myself with people different than I am to bring together diverse perspectives.

You started your new role right at the onset of COVID, how has that been going?

It was difficult. When I planned to take this new role, I couldn't dream that a pandemic would change the way we live and work overnight, on my 43rd day on the job. That said, the support of TD and the resiliency of my team has made this all possible.

I learned that when I'm getting up to speed with a new role and a new team, visual cues are important. In the early days of work from home, when we didn't use video, I lost all the visual cues and found myself second guessing decisions and missing the day-to-day interactions I was used to. As we reintroduced video, my team will tell you, I used and still use it for most meetings, and I think it makes all the difference. You can see the visual cues, it requires focus instead of multi-tasking, and has helped ease the transition.

(ALSO READ: Get to Know TD's Michael Innis-Thompson: Head of Community Lending and Development)

What have you learned as a leader from this experience, persevering through an unprecedented pandemic?

First, this experience has reinforced the importance of authenticity. Being my true self, sharing my experiences – positive and negative – is important to me. In this and other leadership challenges I have faced, sharing has been critical to building the connection and the foundation to work together through the challenge. I have found sharing both my highs and lows honestly with the team has built trust and increased the candid feedback I receive about the good, the bad, and the ugly. That candid feedback is critical to navigating through unchartered waters like this.

Secondly, I am constantly reminding myself to reach out to others more often. For me, the pandemic has been isolating at times. Reaching out to others, without an agenda, has made me feel more connected and I have received feedback that the unexpected call or text has made others feel more connected as well.

A lot of leaders have said the pandemic has really put things into perspective, has that been your experience?

For me, it feels like every 10 years or so, something big and life-changing happens that makes me reset. The "shelter in place" aspect of the pandemic has forced me to stop travelling which has opened windows of time to repurpose. In the early days, I was repurposing to working more. I realized the pace was not sustainable and recommitted to exercise outside each day. The outside part has been really important to me. This new habit is something I will work to protect as we all move forward.

For those who don't know, what does U.S. Consumer Deposits, Products and Payments do for the bank?

Consumer Deposits, Products, and Payments is a core business line at TD Bank. Most Customers who join TD Bank begin their relationship with a checking account which gives them access to payments and money movement by using their debit card, direct deposit, and Bill Pay to name a few. We are accountable for the end-to-end experience across our deposit accounts – checking, savings, money markets, and CDs – for the payments, the P&L, and the risk management. In addition, we oversee the IDA Sweep Program that we have in place with TD Ameritrade.

How do you see your line evolving over the next 6 to 12 months?

Improving our agility on digital – whether it's opening an account, executing a Bank at Work event, or how we market to our Customers, we're investing in these options because our Customers value them. The same is happening in payments too. Imagine opening an account digitally and instantly receiving a digital card to use online and enter into your digital wallets – five days before your plastic one comes in the mail.

Improving our Customer engagement is a core focus. We know that when a Customer engages with us using multiple channels, products, and services, they tend to derive more value and stay around longer. In addition, we derive more value from the relationship. Looking forward, we will better understand and unlock that engagement, while also meeting more Customer needs and simplifying how we work.

What can TD do moving forward to be the Better Bank?

At TD, we need to keep the Customer experience at the center of everything we do and think end-to-end. The different roles I have played at TD have taught me how important this is. While we organize ourselves by different business lines, the Customer's experience crosses those lines with a single transaction. We need to think across the Customer's journey, not our own, to build the Better Bank.


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